Alaska’s Students Deserve to Learn in Safe Schools Free from Violence and Harassment
Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed a resolution highlighting the challenges facing local school districts and the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development in improving school safety. House Resolution 7, by the House Education Committee, puts the Alaska House of Representatives on record as supporting increased safety training for school employees and enhanced coordination between school districts, law enforcement agencies, and first responders to prepare to respond to incidents of violence in Alaska’s schools.
“Voting yes today on House Resolution 7 was easy. Who doesn’t support safe schools? The hard part is coming when we must put our money where our mouth is and actually give school districts the tools and resources they need to prepare for and prevent acts of violence,” said House Education Committee Chair Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage). “Alaska is not immune to school violence. The 1997 school shooting in Bethel often gets overlooked nationally but happened just over two years before the more well-known school shooting in Columbine. Obviously, we are not immune to school violence in Alaska, which means we need an all-hands-on-deck approach between the state, boroughs, cities, and school districts to make sure our schools are as safe and prepared as we can make them.”
In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, many school districts in Alaska have taken steps to update their safety measures, and the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development plans to conduct an analysis of school safety gaps in Alaska. Furthermore, the department is in the initial stages of planning for a statewide school safety convention in the fall for key stakeholders and representatives of all 54 school districts in Alaska.
“Ensuring that our schools have the support and tools they need to protect our children is a top priority. As a father with two school-aged children, making sure my children are safe is a personal issue,” said Speaker of the House Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham). “Those of us who care passionately about school safety are well aware of the ongoing fiscal challenges facing school districts, municipalities, and the State of Alaska. However, we are also aware that to do nothing and just pretend it will never happen again in Alaska is reckless. Today, the members of the Alaska House of Representatives sent a message that despite all that divides us we are unified in our commitment to making sure every Alaskan child can thrive in a safe learning environment.”
House Resolution 7 passed the Alaska House of Representatives today by a vote of 37-1.
For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.